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Town and Village

Changes approved to dog ordinance

BRATTLEBORO—The Selectboard approved updates to the municipal ordinance governing dogs and other domestic pets and animals in town last month.

Brattleboro Police Captain Mark Carignan and Town Clerk Annette Cappy first presented the changes to the Selectboard on Feb. 2. The board voted on the amendments after a second reading and public hearing on Feb. 16.

The ordinance, known officially as “Chapter 3 - Animals and Fowl,” has not received an update in 13 years, said Carignan.

Some of the changes brought the ordinance into accord with state law, said Carignan. Some of the changes also reflected increased penalties for violations and fees.

The updated ordinance provides a process for declaring a dog “dangerous.” Also included is an appeals process for the owner.

A dog or wolf hybrid earns the “dangerous” designation after it has “attacked, bitten, scratched or otherwise injured another domestic pet, domestic animal, or a person, or acted in an aggressive manner that would cause reasonable fear of injury.”

This section outlines the town’s authority to euthanize such a dog or wolf hybrid. Owners have the right to appeal the town’s decision.

One member of the public expressed concern that dogs could be unfairly labeled “dangerous” and taken from their owners.

Chair David Gartenstein said that he felt the updates clarified the designation process but also gave owners recourse for keeping their pets or appealing the town’s designation.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #347 (Wednesday, March 9, 2016). This story appeared on page A4.

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